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Dirty pigs are healthy pigs

Living like a pig could be good for you. Research has shown how dirty piglets obtain 'friendly' bacteria that help them to develop healthy immune systems later in life.

The results, published online in BMC Biology1, provide the first direct link between dirty living, immune health and genetic... Read More

How Guatemala's Most Beautiful Lake Turned Ugly

In his 1934 travel book Beyond the Mexique Bay, Aldous Huxley compared Guatemala's Lake Atitlan to Italy's Lake Como. The Italian body of water, he wrote, "touches the limit of the permissibly picturesque." Atitlan, however, "is Como with the additional embellishment of several immense volcanoes... Read More

How Hand Sanitizers Work

The CDC notes that up to 80 percent of infections may be spread by hand contact. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers work by disrupting the outer coat of viruses and bacteria. Read More

Red wine 'prevents tooth decay'

Here's another reason to drink red wine:

"Drinking red wine in moderate amount helps to rinse teeth clean of bacteria during and after meals, says a new study.

Earlier studies have linked moderate red wine intake with everything from improved longevity to diminished risk of cardiovascular ... Read More

New method of sterilizing medical equipment - with a plasma bag

"The practice of sterilising surgical tools and devices has helped radically improve healthcare. Researchers in the Netherlands are trying a new method, using plasma to kill bacteria inside sealed containers.

But the old mainstay is a 130-year-old device called an autoclave, which is somethin... Read More

Implanted vaccine attacks cancer

Several cancer vaccines that are delivered via injections or intravenous lines are in development. Another approach to a vaccine, however, is to implant a small disk containing cancer-fighting substances under the skin, according to researchers from Harvard University and the Dana-Farber Cancer ... Read More

Nearly 8,000 H1N1 flu deaths worldwide, WHO says

At least 7,826 people worldwide have died from laboratory-confirmed cases of pandemic H1N1 influenza, an increase of more than 1,000 in the last week, but the actual number is probably much larger than that, the World Health Organization said today. Most countries have now stopped counting every... Read More

Vaccine-maker tries to assure patients H1N1 doses are safe

Forget the chicken. At vaccine-maker Sanofi Pasteur, it all starts with the egg -- millions of them each week. The mini vaccine factories will grow more than 75 million doses of H1N1 vaccine this year.

Earlier this month, the only company to make flu shots in the United States offered reporte... Read More

In 2008, HIV cases in the EU increased, while AIDS cases continued to decline (except in the Baltics)

HIV infections remain to be of major public health importance in Europe, with evidence of increasing transmission in several European countries. A total of 25,656 diagnosed cases of HIV infection were reported for 2008 by the countries of the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) (d... Read More

Biological Basis of 'Bacterial Immune System' Discovered

Bacteria don't have easy lives. In addition to mammalian immune systems that besiege the bugs, they have natural enemies called bacteriophages, viruses that kill half the bacteria on Earth every two days.

Still, bacteria and another class of microorganisms called archaea (first discovered in ... Read More

Could seaweed farming prove a boon for biofuels?

Researchers at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. and the Seattle-based Bio Architecture Lab (BAL) have secured $9 million from the Department of Energy to explore seaweed's potential as a feedstock for biobutanol, an advanced biofuel.

Their venture appears to have largely cornered the current mar... Read More

Egypt confirms new human case of avian influenza A(H5N1)

The Ministry of Health of Egypt has reported a new confirmed human case of avian influenza A(H5N1).

The case is a 3 year-old male from Minia Governorate. His symptoms started on 21 November 2009.

He was admitted to hospital on 22 November and his condition is stable. Investigations into th... Read More

WHO suggests swine flu mutations do not warrant cause for alarm

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has informed WHO of a mutation detected in three H1N1 viruses. The viruses were isolated from the first two fatal cases of pandemic influenza in the country and one patient with severe illness.

Norwegian scientists have analysed samples from more than ... Read More

Scientists are poised to redefine underlying conditions in a more profound way based on individual immune response

Attending physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and professors at Harvard Medical School Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband, author an op-ed in the New York Times that considers why in the midst of an epidemic some people become severely ill and die while others remain unscathed.
... Read More

Knockouts in human cells point to pathogenic targets

Whitehead researchers have developed a new type of genetic screen for human cells to pinpoint specific genes and proteins used by pathogens, according to their paper in Science.

In most human cell cultures genes are present in two copies: one inherited from the father and one from the mother.... Read More

School closures can have a substantial impact on the spread of newly emerging infectious diseases

A survey carried out in eight European countries has shown that closing schools in the event of an infectious disease pandemic could have a significant role in reducing illness transmission.

Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Infectious Diseases compared opportunities for infe... Read More

Martian meteorite surrenders new secrets of possible life

Compelling new data that chemical and fossil evidence of ancient microbial life on Mars was carried to Earth in a Martian meteorite is being elevated to a higher plane by the same NASA team which made the initial discovery 13 years ago.

Sources tell Spaceflight Now that the new data are provi... Read More

Farmer Ants Fertilize Their Gardens With Bacteria

(editor's note - this is an update to a story we featured earlier at http://www.microbeworld.org/index.php?option=com_jlibrary&view=article&id=1971)

Thanks to their vast underground fungus farms, leafcutter ants are one of Earth’s most successful species — and one secret of their agricultural... Read More

European Studies Find Unexpected Complexity in Compact Bacterial Genome

A trio of papers in this week's issue of Science are revealing the surprising genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic complexity that can exist in a bacterium with a miniscule genome.

Research groups from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Spain's Centre de Regulacio Genòmica, and elsewhe... Read More

Plasma produces KO cocktail for MRSA

(Editor's note -- this information comes from a press release, but these are interesting treatment developments.)

MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) and other drug-resistant bacteria could face annihilation as low-temperature plasma prototype devices have been developed to off... Read More

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